If there’s a universal constant in the life of all intelligent beings it’s that one day you will have to take a long hard look at things and decide for yourself – do you want to let an ancient queen of a long gone decadent empire inhabit your mortal body or do you want to stay firmly entrapped in the hands of professional jailers taking you to a death sentence and hope that your lawyer is going to get a message to the Duke in time to stop it? For me that time is now. I went with the possession route but if we’re being honest, and I feel like we know each other well enough now that I can be honest, I don’t think it was a good decision. The only real motivation that I had for doing it was imagining how pissed the dream queen would be when she floats or flies or slithers into my body, whatever dream monsters do, and found herself shackled and trapped. That’s probably not a great motivation, but, as they say, what’s done is done.
When the queen disappeared so did her double-mawed spiderery handmaidens as well as the torture slab they were holding me down on, leaving me alone in and endless field of fog. Not sure if she was so eager to get into my body (wouldn’t be the first time that happened you know?) that she forgot about my “punishment” or if that was the punishment. It was certainly boring which is a decent punishment. I walked for a long time but I never encountered anything, just more swirling white fog. I thought maybe that I could create my own dream if I concentrated hard enough, but nothing happened no matter how hard I thought about – and I thought really hard. For a moment it seemed like my efforts were making the fog was swirlier but it easily could have been my imagination. I sat for what seemed like a long time, it’s hard to tell in a featureless dream, when a woman came walking out of the fog. It was none other than Timora the witch-mayor of Cabshirement. The dream version of her was a little taller, a little more attractive, and much more self-assured.
“Are you real? And don’t give me any bullshit about how nothing and or everything is real.”
She nodded “I’m real, I’m using a spell to travel into your dreams. I’ve been trying for a while but I haven’t been able to reach you.”
“I had a way to block out dream intruders, it didn’t seem like you were doing anything for me so I was using that before. Although I don’t have it now so here you are I guess.”
“If you have a way to protect yourself what do you need me for?”
I gestured “Take a look around. People have a very nasty habit of taking my things – without that magic item I have no protections from the various dream attackers I’ve acquired.”
“There’s more than one?”
“Oh yes, I have seem to have a real talent for getting under people’s skins. Particularly people with bizarre magic powers that want to hurt me. Although the one who’s hassling me right now I don’t think I did anything to. She died hundreds of years ago so what could I have done to piss her off? That’s what she claims anyway, he story is never quite the same. The whole thing could be a snowjob.”
“Where is this adversary now?”
“Possessing my body.”
“How did that happen?”
“I made a deal with her.”
“That seems like an extraordinary bad thing to have done.”
“Yeah, I regretted it pretty quickly, but no use crying over spilled wine right? So madam witch mayor what do you have for me? You’ve come all his way into my dreams and so forth, I assume you have good news.”
“I’ll have to do some research. I was just trying to establish contact with you.”
“That’s it? That’s all you have?”
“I’m coming into this situation blind, I need to know what I’m dealing with before I can figure out what can be done to help you. Am I going to be able to contact you tomorrow night? And subsequent nights?”
“Seems like it, although I’m probably going to be executed sometime soon – I assume that will make it harder.”
She was taken slightly aback “Execution on top of dream attacks? You must have a very active life.”
“That’s certainly one way to describe it. Is there nothing you can do for me right now? No kind of protection spell or anything? Can you at least make it harder for these people to find me? I don’t know how you find someone in a dream, is there some kind of supernatural ‘kick me’ sign on me or something?”
“I can place a ward on you but it will only last for a couple of hours.”
“It’s better than nothing, I’ll take it. How the Hells does that work though? I’m not really here, this is my dream, are you really here? Either way since I’m not really here how can you cast a spell on me – the real me I mean – if this is a dream?”
She smiled slightly “It’s best not to think about it. Magic isn’t an exact science and anyway magical theory has never been something I’ve been interested in. As a witch I see magic as more of natural expression of . . .”
I sighed “Just get on with it.”
As soon as her spell was completed I woke up back in the real world like I had been doused with cold water – it was shocking and disorientating to say the least. What I saw before me was a good sight more astonishing though. I figured that old dreamy would just be trapped in my body silent raging that I had outwitted her – seeing as how said body was shackled and magically mind-fucked. Turns out that that assumption was very wrong indeed. I wasn’t inside the coach anymore, I was standing unshackled a few years away. The coach itself was looking worse the wear, the horses were both dead and it generally looked like someone had gotten the carriage up to full speed and slammed directly into the wall of a castle. One for the Lodestoners was on the roof firing the ballista at a massive creature made of earth in the general shape of a humanoid with two glowing gemstone eyes. Two of the others were struggling hand to hand with the blonde fellow I had been chatting with yesterday. Blindie had a wild look in his eyes and was maniacally trying to murder his friends. There was no sign of the fifth fellow.
It was a lot to take in. This dream woman certainly knows how to cause some havoc in the real world when she’s gets the chance, I give her that. Unfortunately as soon as I “returned” the earth-creature collapsed into just a pile of dirt and blondie came to his senses – although the other two clearly didn’t realize this right away as they dragged him to the ground and gave him a sold thwack on the noggin. I thought about making a run for it but the fellow on the roof manning the ballista had eyes on me in a flash and swung it around to take aim at me. I don’t like his chances of hitting me in the dark, but I wasn’t sure that was a risk I wanted to take either. I was gauging my odds when one of the other guards retrieved the poison injector thing I had seen them take down Crookjaw with outside of Graltontown and head my way.
“Wait, stop, I know this is going to sound like the world’s worst lie but that wasn’t me that just did that.”
The fellow with the injector looked grim “Talk, fast.”
“There’s a dream hag that attacks me in the night when I sleep, I had a magic necklace that keeps her away but they took it away from my in the prison. I asked if I could keep it but they wouldn’t let me because it does other stuff as well, they thought I could use it to escape. Tonight when she came to me I let her take possession of my body, I didn’t know that she would do whatever she did here – I figured she’d be trapped and helpless just like I was. I was just trying to fuck with her like she’s been doing to me for months. I can’t really say that I’m sorry and mean it because you are taking me to die an unjust death but I did not intend for this to happen.”
To their credit (or maybe not) they didn’t immediately disregard the entire story as bullshit. They ordered me back into the carriage, and I went, noticing as I did that those horrible shackles were broken on the ground. I suppose the earth-monster ripped them off of her? Or me I mean. You know what I mean. One of them kept an eye on me while the other three, including blondie, went off a little ways to huddle up and conference. I could hear enough of what they were saying to gather that they were debating if the Cathars authorities had broken their contract by not telling them about this dream business (which they didn’t know about). After a few minutes of discussion blondie took out what looked to be a ridiculously poor carving of a horse about the size of a child’s toy and set it on the ground – where it turned into a real live horse that he mounted and rode off. The other two came to join the one eyeballing me.
“This only happens when you’re asleep?”
“Yes, only when I’m dreaming.”
He nodded and gestured to his friend “We need mage protocols.”
I shook my head “I don’t have any magic, that was all her – the other one. I can’t cast any spells.”
I don’t know if he didn’t believe me or if he just didn’t care. My hands were bound, I was gagged, and I was blindfolded as well – which seems like a pretty good way to neuter a mage to me. They also injected me with something. There was no way to know at first but I eventually realized that it had to be everwake serum based on the jittery energy that was running through my body. Once it was fully in my system I could not stay still for even a moment, even restrained like I was I was still fidgeting and bouncing around as much as I could. At some point I felt the warmth of the sun on my face – hours had passed just sitting there on the road. Eventually the beating sound of horse hooves came our way and after a few minutes of discussion I felt myself lifted up into a saddle. I was immediately worried that I was going to be dragged along on a horse, which when blindfolded and with bound hands carries a fantastic chance of falling and breaking your bloody neck. Somehow this fear must have been communicated by my body language because I felt someone sweep up behind me and place an arm around my waist.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you.”
They certainly did, and it was very worrisome.
Inventory: Whiterock family signet ring (Ring of Binding)
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa, eyeless hag, Baron Saltwheel, Baron Harmenkar, Colonel Tarl Ciarán’s wizard soldier, Victor, Beharri, Cebuano, Mayor Eryn, Chimera Trading Company, maker of the manacles